Amazon has been making a concerted push into the grocery business with the expansion of its AmazonFresh Pickup program and Amazon Go grocery store concept, and it recently announced that it would begin accepting food stamps. This week the massive online retailer announced that it would be buying Whole Foods in an enormous, $13.7 billion deal. It was huge news, and now pioneering chef, author, humanitarian, and activist Alice Waters has addressed an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, urging him to use this “unprecedented opportunity” to support sustainable agriculture.
“Dear Jeff Bezos, With the acquisition of Whole Foods--and the ubiquitous network of Amazon--you have an unprecedented opportunity to change our food system overnight,” Waters wrote on Twitter. “It is time to demand that produce comes from farmers who are taking care of the land, to require meat and seafood to come from operations that are not depleting natural resources, and to support the entrepreneurial endeavors of those American farmers and food makers who do not enjoy federal subsidies. They have the same amazing spirit that propelled you and John Mackey to success. It’s time to do the right thing for our country, our farmers, and our planet. And we are all here to help you do it!”
She signed the letter, “With hopefulness, Alice Waters.”
Waters has been a dedicated environmental activist and proponent of agricultural education since the 1970s. The Amazon and Whole Foods deal does have the potential to make huge changes in the grocery business and the way people shop for food, but what those changes will look like remains to be seen.